2010-2011 Teaching Excellence Award Recipients
The Undergraduate School
Since 2005, Sarah Felber has been a versatile UMUC faculty member, teaching not only undergraduate fundamentals, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and advanced writing and grammar courses but also academic writing for graduate students. Her teaching philosophy is that each course is an opportunity to open students’ minds to a new understanding of writing and their relationship to it. For all students, she aims both to develop skills and to modify attitudes about writing and grammar. Students have repeatedly noted her enthusiasm for language and learning and are particularly grateful for her continued exploration and use of multimedia in providing timely and thorough feedback. In particular, she uses Jing, a software program that allows students to hear and see recordings of her while she annotates their papers on the computer screen. She also models good writing techniques by sharing her thought processes with her students so that they can see the steps she takes in asking questions, drawing conclusions about language, and approaching the editing process. Felber shares her passion and enthusiasm for her discipline beyond the classroom and supports her UMUC colleagues through service as a faculty peer mentor. She also has led discipline discussions regarding course revisions and other important School of Undergraduate Studies initiatives. She continues to strengthen her professional skills through participation in faculty development workshops and other learning opportunities.
Felber received her PhD in linguistics from the University of Connecticut.
Sharon Levin began her teaching career in fall 1992 and has taught courses in accounting principles and intermediate, cost, and international accounting. She recognizes that her teaching philosophy is a work in progress as it continues to adapt to students’ ever-changing needs while integrating new learning theories, teaching resources, and technology to enhance student learning.
Once thought to be the most ethical profession by many, accountancy has been tarnished by the unethical behaviors that surfaced in a few notable scandals. Levin requires that her students participate in discussions directly related to professional ethics to demonstrate that maintaining an ethical approach to business is mandatory, even if one is coaxed by unscrupulous leaders or enticed by the potential for extraordinary financial gains.
Her students frequently note that they succeed in learning because of Levin’s dedicated energy, consistent involvement, and determination to help them understand challenging concepts in a difficult course. She provides leadership to other faculty in the accounting department by serving as a course and final exam chair, faculty peer mentor, and course development team writer for the first online international accounting course.
Levin received her EdD in organizational science and development from The George Washington University.
The Graduate School
Stuart Hardy began teaching for UMUC in 1998 in the environmental management program. He has been instrumental in revising and expanding online courses in this discipline, particularly in environmental communications and reporting, and in environmental/energy law and policy development. His teaching philosophy focuses on first increasing the comfort level of his students, especially for those who are nervous about returning to the classroom after many years. Students have noted and responded well to his down-to-earth style of teaching and his efforts to broaden their horizons while participating in lively classroom discussions and debates.
Hardy goes the extra step in providing support to his colleagues through his participation in faculty development initiatives and the successful five-year program accreditation review process conducted by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. Thanks to his efforts to benchmark the program and curriculum against 17 similar programs in the United States, UMUC’s environmental management program was designated a Council of Graduate Schools’ Professional Science Master’s Program.
For these efforts and his consistent support of colleagues and students, Hardy is an example of professional teaching excellence. Hardy received his PhD in modern British history with a minor in modern Russia from Georgetown University.
Linda Smith began her career at UMUC in 2002. She teaches a broad array of courses, from intercultural communication and leadership and organizational theory and behavior to managing people in technology-based organizations. Her diverse background includes conducting ethnographic research, writing about global leadership and collaborative inquiry, and presenting at professional conferences, as well as her current work conducting research in rural southern India with women as leaders of community adult education. Smith’s background enriches her online and on-site classrooms, and her first-year graduate students respond with increased motivation and a greater sense of empowerment in their own lives and careers.
Smith is committed to excellence in examining how management is treated as a subject of academic inquiry and analysis. She has supported the needs of the administration of the Graduate School of Management and Technology by participating in the revision of three graduate courses in her discipline. Faculty members have also benefited from her knowledge and expertise in her role as a faculty peer mentor.
Smith received her EdD in group (team) learning for organizational settings from Columbia University.
Stephen Garrigues is a professor at Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea, where he has been teaching since 1986. He received a BA in Japanese history at Sophia University in Tokyo, and an MA from Colorado State University and a PhD from Lucknow University, India, both in cultural anthropology. He has spent most of his life in the Asia-Pacific region, including 7 years in Japan, 4 years in India, 6 years in Tonga, and more than 25 years in Korea. Dr. Garrigues began teaching with UMUC Asia in 1985 and has taught a variety of anthropology, sociology and Asian studies courses, both in Korea and via the Distance Education program. His research interests are in intercultural communication, comparative semantics, and ethnomusicology. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Garrigues is a passionate photographer.
Nancy Matton earned a BS in biology from Cornell University, an MA in genetics from Harvard, and a PhD at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She has a passion for teaching the sciences and feels that giving students the knowledge and the skills needed to interpret the world around them is an essential part of a college education. She has taught biology and chemistry at a number of universities over the past 18 years and began teaching with UMUC Asia in Yokota in 1993 and continues today via the Distance Education program. As the spouse of an active-duty Air Force member, she feels that she is able to personally relate to the lives and challenges faced by many UMUC Asia students. Currently residing in the Philippines, Dr. Matton enjoys yoga, is an ardent supporter of local organic agriculture, and last but certainly not least, is mom to 10-year old twin daughters and a 3-year old son.
Dr. Michael Apichella describes his approach to teaching with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee." Motivated by his own inspiring and dedicated teachers, he always knew he wanted to be a university professor.
Prior to joining the UMUC faculty in the United Kingdom in 1986, Dr. Apichella had spent time in England studying as a foreign exchange student and working as a Fulbright teacher. He became enamored with British history and enjoyed walking in the footsteps of many of his literary icons. When the chance arose to teach for UMUC Europe, he didn’t hesitate.
After more than 25 years with the university as a collegiate professor, Dr. Apichella says he has learned much from his military students, especially about perseverance, time management, and healthy patriotism. "Working with our students is what I enjoy most about my job. I am proud to be part of a talented faculty nurturing the next generation of America's business leaders, IT experts, executives, and administrators."
He is still connected with many former students, often writing reference letters on their behalf, and is glad that his work with UMUC helps so many students during and after their time in the military. "I’m a man of few regrets, but one I have is that I never put on the uniform. Serving military students is one way for me to serve my country in a way I didn’t have the chance to when I was younger," he said.
A widely published award-winning writer, Dr. Apichella’s passion for writing was ignited 30 years ago when he was hired to write a weekly column for the Wheaton Daily Journal. He has been involved with journalism and writing fiction since then. About receiving this award, he expressed, "I feel humbled, energized, and grateful. I am indebted to UMUC for creating this opportunity and to my students who make my life a joy. Thank you."
Dr. Apichella earned an MA in communications from Wheaton College and a PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Wales.
"Central to my philosophy of teaching is respect for the experiences, identities, and perspectives of my students, as well as understanding what I am asking of them: trust and patience," says Deborah Griggs who has been teaching English, speech, and humanities courses with UMUC Europe for the past 30 years.
Ms. Griggs first started teaching introductory writing classes with UMUC in Greece. Since then, she has traveled widely with the university serving as a collegiate associate professor in U.S. military communities in Kosovo, Bosnia, Italy, and Djibouti. Although she doesn’t have a permanent address, she welcomes new experiences and enjoys the opportunity to explore diverse locations.
Having supported herself through college, Ms. Griggs understands what it means to work hard while earning a degree. In her years as a student and professor, she has enjoyed being with students who are "wrestling with life at the same time they are wrestling with ideas." She places a strong emphasis on communication, especially between individuals and groups that have differing values. Encouraging students to argue their points in class, she believes that open exchange can allow fresh ideas to emerge. As a professor, she feels it is important to "be yourself, be honest, be challenging, and let yourself be challenged."